When SOUR came out, I was in the midst of a breakup with my ex-partner. It was devastating and horrifying that Olivia Rodrigo got me completely. I remember I spent that entire summer blasting the songs over the AUX of my little, green 2006 Camry, screaming and singing along. He also betrayed me, and he also never felt sorry.
Over two years later, I find myself in a similar situation. Newly single, 21 years old and still upset about how my ex treated me. Except this time I am listening to GUTS as a way to cope with this transition.
GUTS is a passionate, angry look at heartbreak while transitioning to adulthood. Olivia Rodrigo deals with mature themes but also brings youth to the album. It is clear how much she has grown as an artist since SOUR.
Each song on the album portrays a deeply relatable picture of Rodrigo. We have all had our moments of ignoring our friends, getting back together with our ex and picking apart all of our flaws (as in the song “ballad of a homeschooled girl”). Olivia perfectly encapsulates the experience of being in early adulthood and grappling with those lingering feelings of teenagedom but also shifting into newfound responsibility and growth.
Here, I’ll highlight just a few of my favorites of the album.
Particularly, the song “all-american bitch” displays the expectations Rodrigo faces especially as a young woman. She sings about how she is the “perfect all-american” who knows their place and doesn’t get angry when they’re pissed. But she is internally screaming inside the entire time.
The song finishes in a sarcastic manner with Olivia reciting her “affirmations” as TikTok creators have dubbed it. “I’m grateful all the time/I’m sexy, and I’m kind/I’m pretty when I cry,” she sings after she screams into the microphone.
In this song, Rodrigo juxtaposes her true feelings while also grappling with meeting the expectations of others. She truly embodies what it means to deal with conflicting senses of identity and also find oneself.
Although Rodrigo has several upbeat pop songs such as the iconic “get him back!,” she also features a variety of slow-paced piano-focused songs such as “the grudge.”
“The grudge” centers around the stage of a breakup in which you try to make sense of what happened. She asks, “How could anybody do the things you did so easily,” throughout the song.
It is a truly vulnerable song that explores heartbreak while also her impressive range as a lyricist. In the song she tries to find the strength to forgive her ex-partner, but realizes she just isn’t strong enough to let it go completely.
Another standout of this album is “logical,” which also deals with a similar story of leaving a relationship and slowly coming to terms with a warped perception of the world.
It is so clear that through this album Olivia Rodrigo has worked to create a raw sense of heartbreak. We see Rodrigo’s growing sense of self as she grows into adulthood.